Monday Musings 257 - Humour at workplace
In a high powered meeting the other day, a quote from Mark Twain floated like a misty cloud – ‘’Never believe a news unless rumour has confirmed it’’. Needless to say that it was received with tremors of laughter.
Organisations are an amazing place if you can see through the pretence of invincibility and hyperbole. Everyone is only doing something of great significance which is significant only in their eyes. Others rarely agree with them in the degree of significance, even if they are magnanimous enough to admit that there is indeed some significance. The good news is that this cycle is very secular – we treat others with the same sense of the dubious as we get treated.
I often compare other professions with that of a manager. I mean a potter makes pots and he knows that he makes the pot. A snake charmer catches snakes and farmer grows food. Things are so simple in being able to understand and equally easy to explain. Now try explaining with the same degree of simplicity what managers in modern organisations do. I mean attending 5 meetings, responding to 200 mails and participating in 3 conference calls is surely some pursuit but calling that as daily work is stretching the imagination a little too far – isn’t it?
Before you start calling me names, let me admit I am pretty much a part of the same game – only that I have a sense of humour. I wish it was found more. I can see humour in unlikely places and sometimes in places where the default response should have been grief, I see humour. I share two aspects i find intriguing.
At any point of time, the formal organisation is rather reticent but the rumour mills are buzzing. This is a very secular phenomena – happens everywhere. The possibilities with the rumour mongering are unimaginable – it can be safely called as the theatre of the absurd. (I was thinking of the word macabre but on second thoughts changed it). However it is clear that is very entertaining. Sometimes I believe that it serves as a good stress buster. Workers need their share of the fun – don’t they? Law of averages also suggests that at least one of the rumours will always turn out to be true. So at least one author will have the last laugh while many will wait for the next turn to turn on their creativity.
The second most fascinating aspect of modern workplace is the boss- subordinate relationship. I think it surpasses the wife-husband relationship in its complexity, pretence and absolute lack of seriousness. I think both know that the charade is on only till the show is on – and once the lights come on the movie stops. (I think I am being reckless in writing this publically – but what the hell – I can always say ‘’I was misunderstood’’). I read this ‘’Tell your boss the truth and the truth shall set you free – of your job that is’’. I think this is a brilliant piece of truth. Bosses should stop taking their being a boss this seriously and the subordinates should not add to that inflation. However someone smart also warned ‘’Always laugh heartily at the jokes of your boss – it may be a loyalty test’’. My only submission in such situations is ‘’Conditions apply - Read the offer document carefully’’. This is a subject where someone must attempt a doctoral thesis – but suggest he quit before attempting it and also renounce the world. This will take time for sure.
For those whom have had the bizarre experience of having me as a boss, I can assure them that I am different and far better than you have given me credit for – particularly after you have had a few drinks and after a review. I must tell you – ‘’I am not bossy – I just know what you must be doing’’. I rest my case.
Humour – such a fascinating ability. Humour at others expense – priceless!